Whats the deal with assisted opening really?


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VoodooSan
January 9, 2013, 06:16 AM
Ok I am in Texas. I have one assisted opening knife. A Zero Tolerance 0300. Awesome blade. But I dont carry it as much as I would because I get conflicted answers to the legality as some LEO's say they are switchblade...which they arent.

But does anyone know what the deal really is? At least in Texas?

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hso
January 9, 2013, 06:46 AM
I get conflicted answers to the legality as some LEO's say

That's your problem, taking the word of an officer that isn't trained to provide an answer.

If ALL LEOs tell you something is illegal you can bet it is. If some say it is while other say not, you should check.

You need to read the TX knife/weapon laws and then pose the question to the people that decide whether a thing is or isn't a switchblade. That would be the senior legal official, AG for Texas?.



Here's the law in TX -


Illegal Knives are defined as;

(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;
(D) bowie knife;
(E) sword; or
(F) spear.

---

Switchblades are any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force..

Those didn't specifically make it crystal clear to everyone (like your LEOs) that a AO that had to be opened by pushing the blade and not a button wasn't a switchblade so Knife Rights and American Knife and Tool Institute worked to get House Bill 4456 introduced and passed, that added the below to section (B) for switchblades;

The term does not include a knife that has a
spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward
closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand,
wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure and open the
knife.

That defines a AO and exempts if from consideration as a switchblade.

BUT, again, you should take the section of the law and ask your AG in writing if this specifically clarifies that AOs are not switchblades under the law.

VoodooSan
January 10, 2013, 07:09 PM
thanks for that info. Thats what I had read as well. I think it just boils down to who one might run into. As far as the letter of the law there doesnt seem to be an issue. I have heard in San Antonio ( I think) like its not legal to carry a folder. Stuff like that. I think the knife laws are seriously outdated but glad that addition was made.

slidemuzik
January 10, 2013, 07:39 PM
Illegal as in what? Banned? Can't carry concealed? Please elaborate.

MICHAEL T
January 10, 2013, 08:01 PM
I believe this is it


Sec. 21-17. Certain knives prohibited generally; exceptions; penalty for violation.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally or knowingly carry on or about his person a knife with a blade less than five and one-half (5 1/2) inches in length, which knife is equipped with a lock mechanism so that upon opening, it becomes a fixed blade knife.
(b) The above prohibition set forth in subsection (a) shall not be applicable to a person carrying such a knife:
(1) In the actual discharge of his duties as a peace officer, a member of the armed forces or national guard, or a guard employed by a penal institution;
(2) On his own premises or premises under his control;
(3) Traveling;
(4) Engaged in lawful hunting, fishing or other lawful sporting activity; or
(5) Using such a knife in connection with a lawful occupation, during such utilization.
(Code 1959, 26-28.1)
Cross references: Regulation of firearms and weapons, 21-151 et seq.; possession of a knife, 21-155.

rcmodel
January 10, 2013, 08:06 PM
Well thats crazy right there.

The way I read it is, a 6" or 7" locking folder would be legal, but a 5" or 3" locking folder would be illegal.

WTH??

rc

hso
January 11, 2013, 12:37 AM
San Antonio's weird knife law has been a topic here before.

The short version is that a locking blade less than 5.5" in length is treated as a weapon in San Antonio. Of course the TX state law makes carrying a blade more than 5.5" in length illegal. Knife enthusiasts have joked that a 5.5" blade would be perfectly legal since it is below the state trigger and above the city's.

NG VI
January 11, 2013, 01:53 AM
Well, would they be right? Would a 5.5" knife be perfectly fine in San Antonio?

And does TX state law prohibit carry of greater than 5.5" knives of every type, or just folders like San Antonio?

Looks like San Antonio is coll with fixed blades of any length though, so that's nice.

glistam
January 11, 2013, 06:35 AM
Well, would they be right? Would a 5.5" knife be perfectly fine in San Antonio?

And does TX state law prohibit carry of greater than 5.5" knives of every type, or just folders like San Antonio?

Looks like San Antonio is coll with fixed blades of any length though, so that's nice.

No it's merely a joke. State law prohibits carry of any kind of knife over 5.5, not just folders.

Milkmaster
January 11, 2013, 11:06 AM
I guess my Rambo style hunting knife that I wear when hiking is like carrying a ticket to jail. Sure comes in handy on the trail though. The law sounds more like the type that can make any knife illegal if the authorities want it to be at the particular time.

Bikewer
January 11, 2013, 11:39 AM
Poniard? Our Missouri statue still mentions "Dirks and Daggers" (can't recall the last time I saw a "dirk"....)
But I doubt if anyone in the legislature could even describe a "poniard".

For those dying to know, it's just another type of dagger:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poignard

rcmodel
January 11, 2013, 11:55 AM
State law prohibits carry of any kind of knife over 5.5,

SO, what do they use for a Bowie knife at the Alamo reenactment's??

rc

glistam
January 11, 2013, 12:52 PM
SO, what do they use for a Bowie knife at the Alamo reenactment's??

You're making me play lawyer.:)

They actually cover that under paragraph (e):
(e) The provisions of Section 46.02 prohibiting the carrying of an illegal knife do not apply to an individual carrying a bowie knife or a sword used in a historical demonstration or in a ceremony in which the knife or sword is significant to the performance of the ceremony.

Here's the whole law: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.46.htm
Be warned, it is a lot of text, and you need to take multiple parts into account to get an accurate interpretation.

rcmodel
January 11, 2013, 02:53 PM
Well, thats a load off my mind!! :D

rc

Hawaiian
January 13, 2013, 06:44 PM
Ken Onion designed the assisted opening, "Speed Safe" mechanism.
Ken started out making auto knives which are illegal in Hawaii. The local law enforcement paid him a visit and told him to stop or they would arrest him.
He stopped and developed the assisted opening design as it is not opened by a button, lever or other mechanism in the handle of the knife. The only way to open it is to manually move the blade. They are legal in most states, but a few, like NY, consider them to be switchblades. Auto knives are illegal to ship across state lines. The Feds have not applied this rule to assisted opening knives. Best to check your state laws to be safe.
I live in Oregon now and don't have to worry about it. Benchmade, Kershaw, Gerber and others are based here. The legislature leaves them alone. :D

hmphargh
January 13, 2013, 06:59 PM
Ok I am in Texas. I have one assisted opening knife. A Zero Tolerance 0300. Awesome blade. But I dont carry it as much as I would because I get conflicted answers to the legality as some LEO's say they are switchblade...which they arent.

But does anyone know what the deal really is? At least in Texas?
I believe that "flipper" style blades are generally considered okay within Texas as the button is on the blade, not the handle. I'm not advocating breaking any laws, but quite honestly, I think that intent is going to be as large a part of this as anything that is written. If you are acting in a suspicious manner and have a knife that otherwise perfectly legal, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to get it taken away if you have an interaction with law enforcement. On the other hand, if you are acting like a normal, respectable member of society, you can probably get away with carrying a automatic knife without any notice if you aren't otherwise raising suspicion. Not that I would recommend it as a general practice.

Charles S
January 13, 2013, 07:06 PM
I believe that "flipper" style blades are generally considered okay within Texas as the button is on the blade, not the handle. I'm not advocating breaking any laws, but quite honestly, I think that intent is going to be as large a part of this as anything that is written. If you are acting in a suspicious manner and have a knife that otherwise perfectly legal, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to get it taken away if you have an interaction with law enforcement. On the other hand, if you are acting like a normal, respectable member of society, you can probably get away with carrying a automatic knife without any notice if you aren't otherwise raising suspicion. Not that I would recommend it as a general practice.

Agreed! good post.

Keep in mind local restrictions (legal or not) apply. One of our local judges in Bowie county, in spite of AG opinions, has decided assisted opening is an automatic knife and against Texas law. Is he wrong... absolutely.... do I want to be the test case... NO!

Research you state laws and keep in mind local interpretation of the above matters.

hso
January 13, 2013, 07:18 PM
as the button is on the blade

There's no "button" with AOs.

People mistakenly keep trying to equate them mechanically to switchblades. They aren't any more than an AR-15 is a machine gun.

On the other hand, if you are acting like a normal, respectable member of society, you can probably get away with carrying a automatic knife without any notice if you aren't otherwise raising suspicion.

Very true, but it is advisable to know the actual law within your state so you know how to avoid running afoul of "Imperial entanglements".

They are legal in most states, but a few, like NY, consider them to be switchblades.

That information is incorrect. The state of New York's definition of a switchblade is below. The critical issue, as is usually the case, with an AO is that they don't open automatically. They are biased closed and you must overcome the pressure by manually opening the knife. At a point while opening it the mechanism then takes over an completes the opening. The fact that the knife is biassed closed and that you have to initially open it manually is what sets switchblades and assisted openers apart.
New York Penal Law
Article 265
265.00 Weapons Crimes - Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons
Definitions
As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following terms shall mean and include:
...
4. "Switchblade Knife" means any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

JTW Jr.
January 14, 2013, 11:54 PM
Ken Onion designed the assisted opening, "Speed Safe" mechanism.

crafty gun that Onion fella is.....

voodoo...you coming to SHOT show ?

Ok , that was weird....I just got a text from Ken......

jessethr
January 19, 2013, 03:43 PM
Even in New York, a knife with the assisted-opening stud on the blade, not the handle, should not be considered a switchblade:

New York Penal Law Article 265
265.00 Weapons Crimes - Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons

As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following terms shall mean and include:
...
4. "Switchblade Knife" means any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

230RN
January 19, 2013, 06:02 PM
I always have to laugh when lawmakers try to keep up with engineering.

I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a fast legal knife operated by magnets, but conforming to present laws regarding springs and gravity and inertia and buttons and such.

Won't it be fun to watch them then?

A looooong time ago I toyed with the idea of a knife with a blade enclosed in a handle which was withdrawn by a magnet in the sheath as you drew it.

But that was before neodymium super magnets.

Hey, someone run with that idea! All power to you as long as you call it the Terry Knife.

:cool:

Terry, 230RN

hso
January 19, 2013, 07:11 PM
Butch Vallotton and I designed something similar, but magnets didn't work.

Hawaiian
January 19, 2013, 07:50 PM
The Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., has targeted knife retailers including Eastern Mountain Sports, Home Depot, Paragon and Orvis and has confiscated these stores’ inventories including legal knives, which they claim are outlawed switchblades and gravity knives.

He reads the statute differently than you and I do.

hso
January 19, 2013, 08:09 PM
Vance is in NYC, where the absurd confiscation of one hand openers took place. NY state hasn't been this idiotic (yet). Vance is why Knife Rights has brought suit against the city for this.

VoodooSan
January 21, 2013, 03:45 AM
Well my main concern was actually carrying my ZT 0300 that uses the speed safe assisted opening. It's a great blade and I would like to carry it but my confusion on the legality was is the assisted opening legal in TX. I mean I see no reason why I would even get challenged by carrying it but that was not my point. I'm just one of those guys that likes to stay in check

RatDrall
January 21, 2013, 01:50 PM
That's your problem, taking the word of an officer that isn't trained to provide an answer.


Even an untraind "officer" can ruin your weekend by arresting you. If the DA is equally stupid it can ruin your year while things get sorted out in court.

I won't carry an AO because I don't even want to have the dreaded "switchblade "discussion with the guys with the badges, guns, and cages.

ObsceneJesster
January 21, 2013, 06:34 PM
I realize that there are many good folding knives that don't have any type of assisted opening but after owning one, I WILL NEVER purchase a folding knife that doesn't have opening assist. My favorite brands that make assist openers are Kershaw, SOG and Benchmade.

MAKster
January 31, 2013, 09:53 PM
The problem with New York City is the restriction on gravity knives. The NYPD considers all folding knives that lock open gravity knives.

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